Obama’s term comes to close


President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady press briefing room at the White House Monday in Washington. 

By Clarissa Hinshaw

DeKALB | In light of President-elect Donald Trump’s recent victory, students and faculty members have reflected on the highs and lows of President Obama’s eight-year term.

Obama has a 57 percent approval rating, compared to the average approval rating of 53 percent, according to a gallup.com poll. Bill Clinton’s rating was 63 percent and George W. Bush’s was 29 percent at the end of their respective terms. Obama’s rating is up from 45 percent in 2015, according to the poll.


During the presidential debates, Hillary Clinton, former Democratic presidential nominee, argued that Obama dug the United States out of the recession, while Trump thought he made it worse. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported the unemployment rate has dropped to 4.9 percent from 10.2 percent in 2009.

“The important thing is we recovered from the recession in 2008,” said Carl Campbell, chair of the Economics Department. “It was a slow recovery, as it took a while to get back to full employment, but we’re there now. It seems like the economy is fairly stable now.”

Campbell said it is too early to tell what the long-term effects of the Affordable Care Act will be.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, gives low-income families and people with pre-existing conditions easier access to healthcare. It also lets young people stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26 years old, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences.

Campbell said he is not sure how Obama’s legacy will be affected by Trump. He said if Trump improves the economy, Obama will not be seen as well as he is now, but if the economy crashes under Trump, Obama’s ratings will increase.

Social policy

Obama is well known for his social policies including legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, increasing funding for Planned Parenthood and adding transgender people to Title IX protection.

“I think both terms could have done more but were pretty great,” said Sociology Professor Janet Reynolds. “I think he had his hands tied in many respects because he had a Congress [that] wouldn’t work with him. Overall, he was classy and pushed forward some important aspects.”

Reynolds thought Obama’s greatest achievements were the Affordable Care Act and helping with the Defence Orientation Conference Association, a nonprofit educational organization. She was disappointed Obama deported many immigrants, as well as hired immigrants for labor, but didn’t protect them.

She is unsure how Obama will be seen in history, but thinks with Trump coming into office, Americans will begin to see Obama as intelligent and diplomatic.

Student organization reflects

NIU Democrats President Jon Madison thought Obama’s term was good overall. Although he thought Obama could have been better at dismantling the power of Wall Street and focused more on helping the baby boom generation, he said Obama was able to slowly bring America back after the great recession without going to war.

“Obama not only ended the recession, but also left us in a position of job growth, where, among all the developed nations, we are one of the fastest growing [economies] in the world,” Madison said.

Madison is pleased with how Obama has helped the climate by reducing coal production but is afraid of what will happen when Trump takes office, as he is planning to remove these bans, according to his website.

“I think it’s up to us to reiterate that it was a good presidency, regardless of what is repealed in the coming term,” Madison said.

The NIU Republican group was not available for comment.